Blogs

Taiwan’s Failing High Speed Rail Line Faces Government Takeover

According to Railway Technology, Taiwan’s struggling high speed rail line, the only fully private and commercial high speed rail system in the world, will be taken over by the government his week. The line has been plagued by disappointing ridership levels totaling approximately one-third projected levels. The company has generated insufficient revenues to meet its debt obligations and had previously renegotiated its bank credit to substantially lower interest rates.  read more »

High Speed Rail in Springfield: "The Whole City Would Look Like Crap"

Not every local official is smitten with the romance of high-speed rail. Graphic evidence of this was provided by Springfield, Illinois mayor Tim Davlin, who expressed his concern that the proposed rail overpasses would slice the city in half. Davlin told the State Journal Register that the “Whole city would look like crap.” This is a problem faced not only by historic Springfield, the state’s capital and location of many Abraham Lincoln sites.  read more »

Driving for Popsicles: Kidnapping Hysteria in America

Not long ago, I saw an urban planner speak about the “Popsicle test” as a barometer for healthy urban design: in an ideal community, a child is able to safely walk a short distance from their home to buy a Popsicle. In such a community, kids have the freedom and independence to enjoy a carefree childhood walk without having to worry about traffic or neighborhood bullies.  read more »

Recession Job Losses and Recovery in Midwest Cities

The Windy Citizen pointed me at coverage of metro area job losses in the recession. Here is how the 12 cities I principally cover in this blog stacked up, sorted in descending order of percentage losses:  read more »

American Hobbit Houses

Soon after President Obama took office, a proposed plan to “develop federal policies to induce states and local communities to embrace ‘smart growth’ land use strategies” was announced.

This “Livable Communities Program” is intended to save land and clean up the environment. It is seen as encouraging denser housing arrangements to deter automobile use and accommodate the transit industry, according to goals set by the Secretaries of HUD, EPA and Transportation.  read more »

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Don't Go Looking for Work in California

The current economic recession has tarnished the Golden State’s employment opportunities in a major way.

A report released on Sunday by the California Budget Project says that two of five working-age Californians do not have a job.  read more »

New Job Market Report from Jobbait Adds New Data

Mark Hovind over at Jobbait.com released his monthly job market report, and this month he's expanded it significantly with sector-level data by state and metropolitan area.

Mark offers the numbers in an easily digestible format organized by state in color coded tables. It's a great way to get a feel for what's happening in your region or nationally.

Mark hopes this will help identify sectors with job prospects, even in regions where overall employment is declining.  read more »

Redesigning Suburbia

Dwell Magazine and inhabitat.com have combined forces to sponsor the first ever “Reburbia Design Competition,” a design competition dedicated to re-envisioning the suburbs.

Citing the current housing crisis, the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, and rising energy cost, as well as limited natural resources available to increased exurban growth, the two companies have called upon “future-forward architects” and “renegade planners” to reinvent the suburbs.  read more »

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Woodstock Generation Going Up the Country

They might not have known it but Canned Heat’s classic Going Up the Country at the now 40 year-old festival was prognostic – at least in terms of where the Woodstock generation would be moving in the 2010s. John Cromartie and Peter Nelson’s recently released USDA report – Baby Boom Migration and Its Impact on Rural America – says that the baby boomers have already shown more affinity for moving to rural and small town destinations than older or younger cohorts.  read more »

Bloomberg Endorses "City of Aspiration" Report Recommendations in New Middle Class Plan

Earlier this year, the Center for an Urban Future published an extensive report about the mounting challenges New York City faces in both retaining its middle class and elevating more low income residents into the ranks of the middle class.  read more »